Sunday, June 27, 2010

New York seems like a million years ago.

I've been living in New Mexico three weeks now and New York already feels like a lifetime ago.   It's hard to regret the move in any way with the likable things about NYC being replaced by such a better standard of living.   Shopping at Sam's Club is surreal and buying a giant bottle of Bailey's for $22 seemed like the stuff of dreams only a few weeks ago.  I've been eating real pork tamales nonstop and there's nothing like rainbow trout straight out of the river.  New York can't supply either of these.   There was no culture shock upon my arrival as many expected, more of a return to normalcy after more than a decade of unrest.   Life is quieter and I can get to my destination without waiting for a train or bus.  It's also nice to have the option to paint my condo without the repercussion of losing a deposit somewhere down the line.

This pace isn't for everyone as some people might find a town of 72,000 excessively boring.  After living amongst eight million people (that's seven million people PLUS another million) for such a long time, I welcome the boredom.   The air is clean, the beauty is unending and the sky is different every night.  Here are some various pics of the adventure so far.

My entering the state from the viewpoint of one 14-foot Uhaul.  
My girlfriend is driving my eBay purchased Toyota mini-SUV ahead of me.

I managed to get my girlfriend into my armor.   She looks wonderful.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I loved and hated about NYC in one short article.

If you haven't heard of Improv Everywhere, allow me to shortly describe whose these people are.   Basically, a group of artists get together and pull various harmless pranks on the city.   Just about every event they organize is brilliant.   For instance, they'll get a bunch of fat guys to walk inside Abercrombie and Fitch and remove their shirts, obviously poking fun at the shirtless idiots Abercrombie constantly has walking around its store.   Another stunt involved fifty or so people at once heading into Best Buy wearing blue shirts and khaki pants.

More recently, Improv Everywhere spray painted this graphic onto a Fifth Avenue sidewalk, garnering much attention.

I love this.   I think it is clever and most people found it quite amusing.   No harm done, except for maybe a little vandalism.  No biggie.   However, upon reading about the prank in the New York Daily News, I read this quote, "Real New Yorkers don't notice crap like this," said Rolando Gilbride, 33, of Brooklyn.  "We don't look down when we walk.  We look forward."

What a total prick job.  I generally try to stay away from name calling, but this guy deserves it.  Get over yourself.

Perfect timing

I couldn't have picked a better time to move out of New York and I think my always changing landscape was as big as of an incentive as any.   Here was my wonderful view in my last apartment in NYC.

Here is a picture from the same viewpoint upon my last day before leaving.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mine-O

After a month of filling out this and faxing that, I closed on my condo today. Hallelujah, but what a month. I totally understand why people say buying a place is one of the most stressful things. I lost about twelve pounds in the process and what already looked like alien arms now look even skinnier. Soon, I'll be throwing down tamales like jelly beans, so I should fatten back up in no time.

It was a scary week giving the down payment and seeing my saving account dwindle by two-thirds in a day. Literally, a year of saving gone in an instant. I hope it is worth it. Now I'm officially in the car market, so that search begins tomorrow. Oh yeah, and a job would be nice. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

I love NYC, but a Sandtrooper belongs in the desert. That's just the way it is.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

2nd loan in progress

Just a quick update. I was able to secure a second loan through a credit union. Pretty much every bank we tried didn't go for the rent/owned situation of the condo. Anyway, I did get another loan, but it is at a full point higher. No fun, but at least things are progressing. I should be closing on the place next week, although after the first major roadbump, I'm not holding my breath until I have the keys.


Once again, I don't have any related pictures, so here's a video of my new E11 blaster with the Blastercore chip. It's pretty impressive what the nerds can build these days. What you don't get from the video is how unbelievably loud this is in person.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life is a crapcake and we're all taking a bite.

Unfortunately, some of us have larger slices of the crapcake than others. I found out today I no longer have a home loan. The bank got cold feet because only 40% of the units in the complex are owned and 60% are rented They require at least 50% owned. The sucky part is that we know for a fact that the owner is selling all the units one at a time, but the bank wouldn't go for it. The bank would have to pull out after I paid for the inspection and gave the earnest money.

There's still time to find a loan from another bank. The drag is that interest rates went up this week and if I can't find a decent loan from another bank, I'm going to lose a minimum of $2K from all this. On top of that, I would still have to find a place to live in 7 weeks because our lease is up May 31st.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Dig Up Her Bones

Two of the coolest people I know are Phil Moy and girlfriend Tiffany Mamone.  Both are extremely talented artists that have incredible imaginations.   Last summer Phil shot a series of photographs called Buckets Off, putting a face to the costumes you might see walking around at various cons.    The series was a great success and has now been published in a book by the same title.   I have a picture in the book with a blurb of my own. 


Unfortunately, I was not able to NYC showing, but here are some pictures  his blog.

The same day we photographed my Shock Trooper armor, we took some pictures for another project of various portraits.   With Phil's amazing Photoshop, he made the previously scary photo look even creepier. 

First Version

Second Version

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yikes, I'm an adult!!! - Part 1

There's something about paying roughly $1000 a month in rent for eleven years straight that makes me queasy.  I love NYC, but I could have bought a house with the money I have flushed down the toilet.  Sometimes renting is the only option, but regardless, it is a win/lose situation since one is basically paying off someone else's mortgage.   Somehow I've always been on the wrong side of that transaction.  I aimed to change that.

As many of you know, I visited New Mexico in April of 2009 after a twenty year absence. I visited a few towns and stayed mostly at the family cabin in Tres Ritos (all documented in previous blog entries). Instantly, I felt at home in that state, as if my life had been waiting to take a week long exhale. From that point on, the notion of living in Santa Fe had filled my head.  I watched the housing market online almost daily, seeing what money can buy. For those of you not familiar with Santa Fe, it is probably the priciest town in the southwest, and for good reason.  With a population of a mere seventy thousand, Santa Fe attracts those who seek something truly different.  The climate is wonderful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the food is worth a trip alone.

This last weekend, I flew out to Santa Fe to check out some condos.  Houses were simply out of my reach.   My realtor and my father (who is also a realtor) were waiting and we hit the ground running.  Within an hour of getting into town, we were looking at places. The first few were discouraging, because they were pretty shabby and hardly seemed worth the money.  We then saw two other places, both of which I loved, but were rather small. Seeing how I have lived in tiny rooms for the most of eleven years, the size didn't bother me a bit. We then visited the condo that was first on my list. The price was reasonable and it was clearly a nicer place than any of the others.

After crunching numbers over a few tamales, I made an offer on the place. We decided to low ball it and see if the seller would take it. Thirty-six long hours went by before we heard a response.  The realtor contacted me with the seller's counteroffer and seeing how my flight was leaving within a few hours, the seller made a counteroffer and I took it.  My departure from NYC will come right at the end of May after Pearl Jam plays at the Garden.   I sort of view that as swan song for New York and I get sort of teary-eyed thinking about it.   I'll be packing the U-Haul and moving into my own place within days.   I never thought I would own a place, especially one with such cool floors, but now I do.

The furniture in these pictures is "display" furniture to help sell the place.   It worked.  I don't actually own any furniture at this point, so I'll be starting from scratch.   Thankfully, Obama likes to give away free money, so my $8,000 tax credit can help me swank this place up with a giant TV and maybe a couch.  However, I do own a life-sized Han Solo in Carbonite, which I will thrilled to display after more than a decade in storage.  

Why couldn't I have known this while he was alive?

So, my father and uncle told me this remarkable story about my grandfather.  This story that is so badass that I wish I had known about this before he died.  I would have talked to him at length about this and probably recorded it somehow.   Back when he was maybe twenty or so, he was hitchhiking from Mississippi to New Mexico for a job, probably on a farm or something of that nature.   A man pulls up in a car with his wife behind him in another car.   He asked if my grandfather would drive that car so he could ride with his wife in the other car.   That sounded reasonable, so they both drove off down the road for a short time, maybe a few hours or so.  

Eventually, they got to the place where the husband and wife needed to go north.   My grandfather got out of the car, the couple each took a car again and drove off.   My grandfather didn't think anything of it.    After a few days passes by, he sees the car he drove and the couple on the front of the local newspaper.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fruits of my labor.

Around the middle of last year, I made the decision to write reviews for all of the films I see.   I started a page over at and have now written twenty-six reviews.   Granted, that is a very small amount, but it's a solid start.   Rotten Tomatoes is an amazingly resourceful site, but if you aren't an established critic, a little guy can get lost in the mix.

I have now joined the team of writers over at DVD Verdict and more specifically Cinema Verdict.  My focus will remain on theatrical reviews, but occasionally I'll check out a DVD as well just to keep the reviews coming.   Soon I'll have a bio page set up where others can easily keep track of my reviews.   (I'll be sure to post that page here when it is available).   Hey, it's something.


I don't really have a picture to post related to this blog entry, so I'll post this picture which I found this week.